Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Hope Chest for Retirement


When I was a girl, young women had hope chests. These were long wooden storage containers, usually lined with cedar. Some were fancy, some plain, but all were real solid furniture.

The idea behind a hope chest was for young women to collect household items they would need once they got married. Some of this gathering started after a woman was engaged and some started in high school in high hopes of getting married one day.

HOPE chest - get it? Since I never married, I guess I just didn't have enough hope, although I am a rather hopeful sort.

I remember some of my older cousins showing off items they'd purchased or were given to add to their hope chests. Although I never had a hope chest, even at a young age I'd received a few handmade items for it.

As I started cleaning out my belongings to downsize for life in an RV, I found the only two hope chest items I still have. One is a quilt top that was made for my mother when she was only about 12-13 years old. It had been made for her hope chest. The butterflies on the quilt are made from scraps of her old dresses and one square contains her initials and the date the quilt was made - 1937. It had never been finished off and she'd passed it down to me when I was in my early twenties. I decided to finally have it finished off into a quilt to use in the RV as a bedspread and blanket. It will be larger than I need, but will be a lovely memory of my mother in cramped quarters. And certainly cheerful!


The other hope chest item I found in the back of my closet was an old thin white box containing two embroidered pillow cases. (Remember when people actually added lace and embroidery to pillow cases?!) There's even a card in it saying it's a gift for my hope chest. I'm not sure yet what to do with these. They are yellow with age, but so sweet. Maybe I should wash them and use them in my RV too, but they are 100% cotton and will require ironing. Sheesh, I don't iron now, let along do it in an RV! I'm not even taking my iron with me.

As I ready myself for retirement, I have started a "hope chest" of things I'll need for life on the road. It's not made of cedar but is a lowly cardboard box with "RV" scrawled on the side in thick black marker. The quilt will go in there, along with a few other items I've picked up along the way or have received as gifts.

Right now my RV Hope Chest contains a set of Corelle dishes and matching plastic glasses, two collapsible lanterns, a cell phone holder, collapsible measuring cups and spoons, battery operated can opener, a hand operated food chopper, wind chimes, a cute personalized message board, and some items for organizing clothing. I've also received over $100 in gift cards to purchase RV-related items. Most of these were given to me during my last birthday and this past Christmas. A lot of items from my apartment will also be able to go with me, though most won't make the trip, like my beloved Ninja Kitchen System or my Keurig machine. But the Instant Pot definitely goes!

Hmmm, a hope chest for retirement. Could become a thing! Could an RV or retirement gift registry be far behind?

FYI - I could use a sewer hose fitting and a water regulator. A collapsible bucket, drinking water hose, and nesting cookware would also be nice. Believe me, I have a long list and it's getting longer by the day as I read up on accessories that will make my life easier on the road. Oh, and let's not forget some bear repellent.

4 comments:

Mark Baker said...

Personally, I say use the pillowcases and don't worry about ironing or not ironing them. No one will care.

Doward Wilson said...

What a wonderful post & it brings back so many memories for me. Life in rural Southern Iowa required Hope Chests. 2 were hand made by my Great Grandfather & my 2 sisters each have one. They are almost the size of a twin bed & waist high. I remember all the lovely tea towels & pillowcases that had beautiful embroidery on them, done by my Mom, Grandmother & Great Aunt. Works of art after surviving the Great Depression. I agree with Mark, use the pillowcases without ironing. They will probably outlast anything new you buy. I so enjoy your blog & am looking forward to your travels when you retire.

Doward Wilson said...

I also wanted to comment on the beautiful butterfly quilt of your Mothers. It is stunning & I am glad that you are having it finished & taking it with you.

Jaimie said...

Hi. I'm in the travato group with you. I also say use the cases! No iron needed. If you want to whiten them try Mrs. STEWART'S blueing. Ace Hardware sells it for about 3.99$.